Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Blue State To Go Brown?

I hope I'm wrong, but I have a feeling Martha Coakley is going to lose the special election to Republican state senator Scott Brown to fill Ted Kennedy's seat in Massachusetts.
The first indication of a "Brown-out" in Tuesday's election is that Coakley is a worse candidate then she appears to be. After seeing audioless clips of her campaigning, on MSNBC, I watched the PBS Newshour, which played a clip of Coakley speaking - with sound. It was then that I finally got to hear her talk.
To say she's stodgy is like saying Atlanta is uncomfortable in July. She's one of the stiffest women I've ever seen, and her voice could cure insomnia. She needs John Kerry to campaign for her . . . for the charisma.
That's where the second telltale sign comes in. John Kerry, Obama aide Mitch Stewart, and Democratic operative (and Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank's sister) Ann Lewis had e-mails sent in their names today - that's right, today - asking for money to give Coakley a lift in the final three days of the campaign. I got all of them. This is the kind of desperation associated with the presidential campaign of Michael Dukakis in 1988, Dukakis, of course, was the governor of Massachusetts.
The thing is that even if Coakley were as glamorous or as charismatic as, say, Scarlett Johansson, it wouldn't help. She's the Massachusetts Attorney General, making her look like an incumbent in a year where being an incumbent officeholder isn't so advantageous right now. Also, Scott Brown has made some key tactical moves that has put him in good standing with voters. Asked by David Gergen in this past Monday's debate if he thought it was plausible that such an arch-conservative Republican like himself could take over Ted Kennedy's seat, Brown retorted that the seat doesn't belong to the Kennedys or the Democrats, but rather to the people. And all across Massachusetts, you could hear voters say, "Ooh, good answer - good answer!"
On top of that, Brown ran an ad featuring a clip of John F. Kennedy - who also held that seat - arguing in favor of tax cuts, which Brown supports. Brown conveniently left out the fact that Kennedy also believed in giving something back to your country, selectively using elements of the thirty-fifth U.S. President's record to make himself look like an appropriate heir to the Kennedy legacy.
Except for one thing - Brown promises to oppose the health care reform bill currently being hammered out in Congress. As noted, a forty-first Republican vote in the Senate to block passage of the bill will effectively kill it, making health care reform a dead issue for another generation. That the fatal vote could come from a senator holding Ted Kennedy's seat is, of course, ironic. But many Massachusetts residents may not care much because the state already has universal health insurance, courtesy of the gubernatorial administration of Mitt Romney, who in 1994 almost won the Senate seat of . . . Ted Kennedy. Brown isn't just a conservative Republican - he's even more reactionary than the last Republican to hold that seat, Henry Cabot Lodge II . . . and possibly even more so than the original Henry Cabot Lodge.
Which is why this blog endorses Martha Coakley for U.S. Senate from Massachusetts. Yes, she's boring, but, in regard to health care, if we don't get boring we're going to get screwed. Brown is a more exciting candidate, no doubt about that - that centerfold photo he did for Cosmopolitan certainly generated heat - but a hostage crisis is also exciting. I don't want excitement from my government. I want a shot at buying some decent medical insurance.
Another reason to vote for Coakley. . . . If you thought that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck were gloating insufferably over the failure of President Obama to get the 2016 Olympics for Chicago, well, if Brown wins this election Tuesday, you ain't seen nothing yet!
I said that I think Coakley will lose. So come on, Bay State voters, prove me wrong.

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